UK weather: Met Office issues urgent snow and ice warnings across Britain

The Met Office’s ice warning is in place for almost the entire country as temperatures plunge to -16C in some places

The Met Office has issued an ice warning for almost all of the UK, and a snow and blizzard warning for parts of northern Scotland as extreme cold grips the country.

Britain is going to shiver through one of its worst cold snaps of the season, with some forecasts warning of thundersnow and temperatures that will plunge to -16C in some places.

Ice will become a major threat to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists starting Monday night as temperatures drop following rainfall, and wintry showers move into some areas.

The ice warning covers the entire country except for parts of Wales, the North West, eastern England and the northern fringes of Scotland, with the Met Office warning drivers to take caution on the roads amid an increased crash risk.

Public Health England’s cold weather alert is at level three – one stage below “national emergency”.

The ice warning covers all of Northern Ireland from 9pm on Monday to 11am on Tuesday as rain clears and surface temperatures drop before a blast of wintry showers brings a few centimetres of snow overnight.

The warning extends to most of the UK from midnight to 11am on Tuesday.

The Met Office said: “A band of rain and hill snow will move south-eastwards across the UK during Monday evening and overnight.

“A brief spell of wet snow is possible on high ground of southern Scotland, northern England and north Wales, with some small accumulations possible.

Behind this surface temperatures will rapidly fall away with some ice forming on some surfaces.

“Once the rain has cleared, some hail, sleet and snow showers will follow from the north-west, with 1-3cm above 200 metres and some small accumulations expected at lower levels.”

Meanwhile, the Met Office’s snow warning is in place for parts of northern Scotland between 2pm and 11.59pm on Monday.

It said: “A band of rain with snow falling above around 300 metres is expected to move across Scotland on Monday afternoon and evening.”

Up to 3cm of snow is likely above 300 metres with 10cm of snow above 500 metres.

“Temporary blizzard conditions are also likely with strong winds,” the Met Office warned

This week, temperatures in some mountainous areas of Scotland will plunge to -16C at night.

What are the dangers?

The Met Office said icy surfaces – roads, pavements and cycle paths – could lead to injuries from slips and falls.

There is a risk of travel disruption.

In the snow warning area, the national forecaster said there could be delays on some roads and railways.

It will be very cold across the country this week, and many places won’t see daytime highs above 3C to 6C.

Chief Meteorologist Steve Willington said: “The cold weather will continue to bring a risk of snow showers, icy conditions and widespread overnight frosts during the first part of the week.

“Though parts of England and Wales will see low cloud giving way to sunny spells on Monday, elsewhere, strong winds, heavy rain and hill snow will move into north-western areas.

“Wintry showers of rain, sleet, hail and snow will then follow from Tuesday.”

Mr Willington added: “These wintry showers will be most frequent and heaviest in the north and west, allowing snow to settle to lower levels at times across these parts, especially on Tuesday night.

“Icy conditions and frost are also expected through this period and may be particularly widespread on Tuesday morning.”

There are signs of some less cold weather towards the end of the week, offering a brief respite from snow, ice and frost before they return next week.